UPDATED: Raleigh state Rep. Grier Martin will not seek re-election, avoiding a potentially contentious primary against Democratic ally Deborah Ross for House District 34.
Ross, a 10-year House veteran, said she will campaign in the reshuffled Wake County district, which includes part of her old territory. The Republican-led redistricting effort double-bunked Martin and Ross, pitting them against each other in a Democratic primary if they both sought re-election.
The duo are good friends and called it a "joint decision" for Ross to run and Martin to retire. "We think ... that we've been targeted so that the legislature will lose young, effective, energetic legislators from the Democratic party," Ross said.
(Republicans, for their part, call the maps fair and legal.)
Ross and Martin acknowledged considering running for higher office in 2012 but ultimately decided against it. Martin, an eight-year veteran, is a big loss for Democrats. In the House, Martin is one of his party's top fundraisers. He entered 2012 with $279,000 in the bank -- second in the House only to Republican Speaker Thom Tillis.
Martin said Republicans wanted to target female lawmakers like Ross and he didn't want to be "an instrument to that abuse."
"I'm mad. I'm not going to be a tool to what they are trying to do here," he said. "They wanted to pit us against each other and fight."
At the same time, Martin said he is looking forward to "recharging his batteries" and spending more time with his family, instead of campaigning this year. But he said he is not done with politics for good. He expects to seek elected office in the future, though revealed no details about any potential plans.